Many San Diego high school graduates from the Class of 2015 have been enjoying their summer break since getting their diplomas. Many will be college bound in a few weeks. Others are starting to consider their job options.
Three North County area graduates barely paused to celebrate before getting a head start on their careers in the construction industry this summer, the recipients of scholarships awarded by the Associated Builders and Contractors San Diego Apprenticeship Training Trust.
Miguel Camacho from Escondido High School, and Romeo Ramos and Angel Samora from North County Trade Tech High School were selected by a panel of construction professionals from a strong group of applicants as this year’s recipients. The panel included Sherry Yarbrough, executive director of the ABC San Diego Apprenticeship Training Trust academy; Jennifer Mouritzen, human resources director with Pacific Rim Mechanical; and Tom Skibinski with Rowan Electric, who is also an ABC apprenticeship instructor.
Camacho learned about the scholarship while doing online research for career opportunities after high school. He says he decided to pursue plumbing as a career for strategic reasons. “There are always jobs in plumbing, I like the job security,” Camacho said. “I don’t like being in an office.”
Camacho said the opportunity to graduate from the Apprenticeship Training Academy program with a career and no college debt was very important to him.
“First, there is not a guarantee of a job even if you graduate from college. Then you’re in debt,” Camacho said. “I’m positive about the future.”
Camacho’s ambitious plans also include using his skills and earnings to buy his first home and purchase additional properties to refurbish in the future.
Scholarship recipients become apprentices, which means the student is a full-time employee with benefits. Camacho is employed by Countywide Mechanical. Ramos and Samora will both be electrical apprentices.
Ramos is currently employed by Prime Electrical. Samora will begin his employment later this summer. Scholarship recipients work a 30-day pre-apprenticeship period, which begins immediately after their high school graduation. Upon completion, all three officially become apprentices and begin their formal education on the job and in the classroom.
Apprentices combine on-the-job training working under the supervision of a skilled craftsperson with formal education through ABC’s Apprenticeship Training Trust program, where students learn the technical side and the theory of their craft. All tuition costs are covered. As part of the scholarship, students who are selected also receive a basic set of tools for their trade, work boots, all technical manuals, codebooks and classroom textbooks throughout the apprenticeship at no cost, a value of several thousand dollars.
The new apprentices will begin their classroom education at the ABC Apprenticeship Training Academy in August.
Applications will soon be available for the 2016 ABC Apprenticeship Scholarship Program. It is open to any high school senior currently enrolled in a construction class or training program in San Diego County. For more information about the ABC San Diego Apprenticeship Training Trust Scholarship Program, visit http://www.abcsd.org.